"Just inspire the world and show them that you are not inferior. That is a state of mind. If we believe we are divine as we think we are then that is what we will spread to the world."- Edna Vazquez
A few days ago I had the honor of interviewing the lovely ladies of Flor de Toloache, the first and only all female Mariachi band from New York City! Not only that, but these 2017 Latin Grammy winning females have worked and collaborated with different artists whether it is individually or as a group. A few of those collaborations include Chicano Batman's "Freedom is Free" and Not Te Va Gustar's newest album "Suenan Las Alarmas". Flor De Toloache is also known for fusing mariachi music with jazz, cumbia, country and so much more! It's no wonder why these ladies have found so much success in what they do and have been able to transmit that to different audiences. They are never afraid to experiment with other genres, which truly creates a magical hearing experience.
This past Sunday, Flor De Toloache played at the Chamizal National Park (U.S side) as part of the Music Under the Stars series that takes place every summer in El Paso, Texas. The girls were a few minutes away from going on stage and giving a wonderful performance and I had the chance to ask them a few questions.
I started off by asking the ladies what they thought about the border region considering all that has been happening on the news lately and bearing in mind the fact that this is their first time playing in El Paso. Mireya said, "when we were driving in we could see the border, you know, it reminds you of everything that is going on. We have been touring for about two months now and you know, you create this bubble in where you are doing music, moving people and connecting to people and there is definitely a safe space when share music together. When you are here and see this border, it's a reality check, but it is so special to be so close to Mexico. We are really excited to share our music with this community. It's outside so that is cool too."
It was indeed a special evening and I am not only speaking for myself when I say that. They played some of there original music and covers of well known songs like a medley of Juan Gabriel songs, a cover of "El Rey", a Selena medley, and a mariachi cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody".
Going into that interview, I wanted to know "who is Flor de Toloache?" and "what does it mean to them?" Also, for the longest time mariachi has been seen as and stereotyped as a male-dominated genre so I wanted to know what that all meant to them as Flor de Toloache. Julie said, "for us it's empowering. To be in the position we are in and surrounded by sisters, we support each other and we have also come to see how we are supported as well by all varieties of different communities around the world. It's special to see how supported we are. Yeah, there is the whole male thing and all that, but we are breaking those walls little by little."
At the beginning of the article I mentioned a few of the collaborations Flor De Toloache has done lately, but the most interesting part is that they are not all within the same genre. I asked them whether they had a specific way of choosing collaborations.
Mireya responded with, "It all started when Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys) invited us to tour with him and open up for his other solo project, The Arcs. That kind of opened the door for new collaborations like with No Te Va Gustar and recently with Diamante Electrico. There is also another special collaboration coming up, which I am not going to say yet. It is a big one and you will see why it's so special when it comes out. We are really excited about that and it's going to put our music into another genre."
She added that collaborating with new people always makes it more fun and more special to them. It makes it special not only for them, but it allows them to connect to different crowds. She mentioned that that is why they decided to do bilingual songs as well. We will have to wait patiently for that next collaboration to come out, but in the meantime it is always exciting to see Flor touring and working with artists in other genres!
Last but not least I asked the girls why music is so important to them and why it's so much fun for them and they all gave fantastic responses:
Mireya: "For me, as I mentioned before, it's connecting to people that don't even speak Spanish and seeing how they connect to our music. It's a safe space where there is no judgement and people come together and be happy and just be moved. It's a little bit of culture through our music too. There is still the essence of mariachi and people connect to their culture through our music."
Julie: "It's a way to spread love. It's definitely my favorite thing about playing and performing, and sharing whatever gift I have."
Neomi: "I agree with what she said. We do it for love, you know, love is what we are made of. We will always be reminding ourselves and other people of that. We are love and music is love and vibration. We need to be doing it all the time."
Edna: "Same frequency. Just inspire the world and show them that you are not inferior. That is a state of mind. If we believe we are divine as we think we are then that is what we will spread to the world."
Flor de Toloache gave a beautiful performance and their voices are unbelievable! I want to thank the ladies for their time and I encourage anyone that has not heard their music to go check it out!
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.